Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Ember Wednesday in Advent

Today, Friday and Saturday are the Advent Ember days or Quarter Tense days. Ember Days are of simple rite and their liturgical colour, like the rest of Advent, is violet.

The Office of the Ember Day begins with Mattins. The invitatory is Prope est and the Office hymn Verbum supernum. In the nocturn the antiphons Speciosus forma etc are sung with psalms 44i, 44ii, 45, 44, 481, 48ii, 49i, 49ii & 49iii. Psalm 49 is divided into three rather than two divisi as the second scheme of Lauds will be sung. The lessons are a homily from St. Ambrose on St. Luke's Gospel. Following the third lesson a third responsory, Modo veniet Dominator Dominus, is sung. At Lauds the second schema is sung and so the antiphons appointed for the Wednesday before the Vigil of the Nativity, Prophetae praedicaverunt etc, are sung with psalms 50, 64, 100, Exsultavit cor meum & 145. The Office hymn is En clara vox. After the antiphon on the Benedictus, Missus est Gabriel, has been sung in full after the Canticle the choir kneels for the singing of the ferial preces. The same set of antiphons are sung with the Little Hours in the usual order. At the Hours the ferial preces are sung, kneeling.

Mass is sung after None. The texts are proper, the introit being Rorate, caeli etc. After the Kyrie there immediately follows the dialogue Oremus, Flectamus genua and Levate and a collect, Praesta, quaesumus, is sung followed by an additional OT lesson and gradual. After this the celebrant sings Dominus vobiscum and the collect Festina, quaesumus. The second collect is Deus, qui de beatae and the third collect Ecclesiae. The dismissal is Benedicamus Domino. The ministers, of course, wear violet folded chasubles. With the celebration of the Eucharist the Office of the Ember Day ends.

Vespers is of the Advent ferial day. The Office hymn is Creator alme siderum. The antiphon on the Magnificat is proper to the nineteenth day, O radix Jesse, and is sung in full both before and after the Canticle with the choir standing. The choir kneels for the ferial preces and the collect of the previous Sunday is sung. At Compline the Domincal preces are sung, kneeling.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962 Ember Days become of second class rank. At Mattins and Lauds all the antiphons are doubled. Although the preces are sung at Lauds they are omitted at the Hours. Mass is sung after Terce. The ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle and two of the collects are omitted. The dismissal is Ite, missa est. The Office of the Ember Day continues through Vespers. The doubling of antiphons means the singular feature of the Great O antiphons is lost. The collect is of the Ember Day.

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